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Marketplace for Mobile: What's prohibited

One of the bigger beefs with Apple's App Store is the seemingly indiscriminate nature in which some updated apps are rejected, even after they've already been approved. (See: Tweetie and more recently, the Nine Inch Nails app.)

We now have a hard list of what'll get your app banned (pdf link) from Windows Marketplace for Mobile. For us, here are the biggies, though questions remain:

  • No VOIP apps using a carrier's data. (Will WiFi be OK?)
  • No apps that replace or modify the default dialer, SMS or MMS apps.
  • No apps with an OTA download of over 10MB. (Not sure if that's the app itself, or downloading within the app for, say, a podcatcher or the dreaded torrent downloader.)
  • No apps that change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device. (Does that mean no Opera or Skyfire, which let you choose to set them as the default browser? No Kinoma Play, Core Player or the like for multimedia?)

That said, we have absolutely no indication that Windows Mobile 6.5 would bar you from installing apps from outside the Marketplace. None. The following list is just what will keep an app out of the Marketplace. Interestingly, the list doesn't include any mention of prohibiting any "objectionable content," except for in advertising within apps, which must follow standard Microsoft practices (pdf). Does that mean anything goes with regards to content? We're likely to see some clarification in the weeks ahead.

Check out the fine print after the break.

Prohibited Application Types:

1. Applications that are or distribute alternate marketplaces for content types (applications, games, themes etc.) that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows® Marketplace for Mobile.

2. Applications that link to, incent users to download, or otherwise promote alternate marketplaces for content types that are sold or otherwise distributed through Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

3. Applications that promote or link users to a website, or contain functionality within the application itself, which encourages or requires the user to purchase or pay to upgrade the application outside of Windows® Marketplace for Mobile.

4. Applications that enable VoIP (Voice over IP) services over a mobile operator network.

5. Applications that sell, link to, or otherwise promote mobile voice plans.

6. Applications that display advertising that does not meet the Microsoft Advertising Creative Acceptance Policy Guide https://about.ads.microsoft.com/en-us/solutions/ad-products/display-advertising/creative-specs (opens in new tab).

7. Applications that replace, remove or modify the default dialer, SMS, or MMS interface.

8. Applications that change the default browser, search client, or media player on the device.

9. Applications with an OTA (over the air) download >10 MB.

10. Applications that run code outside Microsoft runtimes (native, managed, and widgets)

11. Applications that publish a user’s location information to any other person without first having received the user’s express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user a means of opting out of having their location information published.

12. Applications that publish a user’s data from their mobile device to any other person without first having received the user’s express permission (opt-in) to do so, and that do not provide the user a means of opting out of having their data published. A “user’s data” includes, without limit, contacts, photos, SMS or other text communication, browsing history, location information, and other data either stored on the mobile device or stored in the “cloud” but accessible from the

mobile device

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

12 Comments
  • As for #8 - I read that as no programs are allowed that will automatically make those changes (hijack or allow you to make a change w/o doing a hack). I mean, all of HTC's devices come with Opera Mini - right? And we have options for browsers - but the "default" is set and it is usually IE. Same with the media players - if you want to change the default, you are still going to have to hack it.
  • I think it's like bubbatex wrote. However, what about apps which do this after a query or allow it in the settings? The phrasing is a bit blurry there...
    Besides, what exactly is "replacing the default" when it comes to Windows? E.g. with a media player, this ranges from replacing the file associations (".wav is opened with ...") to replacing COM/OLE interface classes (e.g. used for ringtones and some players which are more of a different interface to WMP's playback routines) to replacing the mplayer.exe completely. It's similar with browsers: You can replace the app for .htm(l) extension, protocols like http://..., and finally pie.exe. (Well, replacing files in ROM doesn't work with every device...)
  • it only means you cant change the default - you can still have coreplayer and such but not set to default
  • This sounds utterly stupid to me. We are talking about limiting some of the core functions of a smartphone to the "default" applications: The web browser, media player, SMS, MMS. But let me guess, all the idiotic apps like farting machines and tip calculators are fine?
  • The problem I have with these new requirements is that my software is completely forbidden from being listed on the marketplace. This is partly because my software doesn't use the default open/save dialogs (I wrote my own so you can browse the entire device) and also because it changes quite a bit of the shell. Does this also mean that favorites like Pocket Informant would be banned because it replaces the Calendar/Tasks/Addressbook programs (and because it doesn't use POOM to access the database)?
  • "Does this also mean that favorites like Pocket Informant would be banned because it replaces the Calendar/Tasks/Addressbook programs (and because it doesn't use POOM to access the database)?" it doesn't say anything of this sort. I beleive they will allow apps that change thess as long as the apps doesn't do the changes without user consent, (as a lot of them do now which i hate; not because i installed your app doesn't mean I want it to be default). however, these restrictions sort of underminds the vast power of how well one can customize the windows mobile platform. well, users can still install whatever they want from application venders and change whatever they want without using the app store, no restrictions there.
  • Boy, I feel better and better about my revulsion and avoidance of this tyranical Apple platform. Dictate to me what I can and cannot load onto my machine? I dont think so!
  • lol, I hear you on, same here. same reason I got the unlimited data plan, because I download about 60 times for the day, always installing an app or changing something
  • I'm not really worried about these restrictions.
    If the Apple AppStore can get along with all these, plus tons of others, than the Marketplace will be fine. Besides, we will still be able to download and install outside (non-Marketplace) apps restriction-free.
  • The restrictions are only for apps that can be sold on the Marketplace. These are not restrictions on what you can do to your own personal device. For example: I could not develop and sell an SMS app on the Marketplace, but I could still develop the app and have the app installed and functioning on my device.
  • Correct.
  • This sounds utterly stupid to me. We are talking about limiting some of the core functions of a smartphone to the "default" applications: The web browser, media player, SMS, MMS. But let me guess, all the idiotic apps like farting machines and tip calculators are fine?